Android tablets might finally get that iPad-beating update

A screengrab from Google IO 2022
(Image credit: Future)

If there's one common gripe we have with Android tablets, it's the software - we commonly complain about how stock Android just doesn't work well for big screens, not like iPadOS does for iPads. But that could be about to change.

At Google IO 2022, an annual conference for... well, everything Google, the company announced that Android 13 will bring a huge redesign of how the company's software works on big-screen devices.

We didn't hear when this update will roll out, but hopefully soon - at least in beta form. Expect new tablets from Samsung, Lenovo and more to come with it soon - those brands were name-checked on stage.

So what's new?

The biggest main change is a redesign for the tablet software home page, to make apps fit together better without wasting space. Widgets sound redesigned for the same purposes too.

Multi-tasking has seen an update, so it's super convenient to place two apps side-by-side and use them simultanously. You can even re-open paired apps like how you can in iPadOS, in case there are two apps you use together all the time.

Something that's also really exciting is that the swipe-down quick options have seen an impressive redesign to make them much more convenient. Now, when you swipe down, your settings will appear on the left, and the notifications on the right - previously, they appeared on top of each other, which wasn't exactly space-efficient.

Lots of apps are getting redesigned for big screens. These include Google's own ones like Entertainment Space and YouTube Music, and third-party ones like Zoom, Facebook and Canva.

Oh, and on top of that, all the Android 13 updates are coming too. 

Now can the new features help Android tablets compete against the best iPads? We'll have to see how the new features work in the real world, but it's definitely encouraging. 

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.